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You've Got Mail: The Rookies Are Coming

Topics include the offensive line and sunk cost


The Cardinals head into rookie minicamp at the end of this week, and by next week, the entire offseason roster will be together for the duration of the summer. With that, on to your questions. As always, you can leave a question for next week's mailbag by clicking here.

I think Wilson, even as the last pick in the draft, does have a very good chance to stick around. The fact there are seven guys right now (including the undrafted additions) doesn't mean much; at this point, every position is obviously overloaded. But that is what the offseason and training camp are for, to figure out who you are going to keep on the roster. No one in that room is a lock (although I'd think they'd want to keep a veteran like Charles Clay around).

They will figure out the rookie jerseys Thursday when all those guys arrive for physicals and check-in for minicamp. Something to keep in mind: Other than Kyler Murray, there is a chance rookies could end up switching their jersey numbers at the end of the preseason after guys are released and more numbers come available.

You hire Kliff Kingsbury because you think he's the best coach to get you to where you want to go right now. You draft Kyler Murray first in the draft because you think he's the quarterback who will become great and is the guy you want to lead your team right now. You have to/need to play Murray from the jump. Don't overthink it.

No. As I noted above, I don't think there are any current locks in the tight end room. That's what all this time before September cuts is for -- to figure out who is in and who is not.

From Kevin Power via

"Past history has not been kind to rookie quarterbacks. Given that fact, what kind of record do you think the Cards need to have to consider the 2019 season a success?"

You don't want to go 4-12. But I don't know if the record is necessarily the main spot to which you will be looking to see this season being a success. To me, you need to see the defense get back to its top-10 ways. You need to see Murray make Mayfield-type strides. You need to see the rookie wide receivers be able to make an impact. You need to see the offensive line at least give you middle-of-the-pack performance. Now, if all those things happen, the win total will jump (although it doesn't take much after 3-13).

If a guy isn't under contract, the team doesn't have any say. Then again, if you are dumb enough to be base jumping in the two weeks between the draft and showing up for minicamp and you get hurt, you might not have a contract. Guys do sign a waiver to be in workouts before the contract is officially signed. There is usually boilerplate language to make sure such things do not happen.

From Laird DelRosa via

"Quite a few teams took offensive lineman in first round. I think we should have taken one this draft but it didn't happen. Do you think we have sufficiently helped protection for our QB?"

The Cardinals think they have, given the circumstances both within the draft and in free agency. There is risk, of course. But they thought Murray was the answer at QB and the other early picks were also areas of need like offensive line. So it's hard to argue they didn't need those guys either. But we will see. The spotlight will definitely be on the offensive line.

From Steve Drumm via

"With the team releasing Sam Bradford, Mike Glennon and the trade of Rosen, the Cards have $16 million in dead cap money on the books. How will this affect their efforts moving forward to sign free agents and when does this money come off the cap?"

That money is already being absorbed on the cap and will be gone after the 2019 season. As of today, the NFLPA lists the Cardinals with about $13 million in cap space. Not sure who would be out there that you'd want to sink a lot of money into right now. They do need a chunk of that cap space to sign their rookies. As for the amount of the dead money, it's not ideal. But eventually it becomes sunk cost, and if you believe you need to move on from Bradford and Glennon and you pick Murray over Rosen, then make it be a clean break. The Rosen situation in particular is important there; if you thought Rosen and Murray were about the same, then yeah, money should matter. But if you truly feel Murray is capable of being transcendent, you can't let the money stop you from making the move.

From Ken Regan via

"What about the offensive line? Why did they choose to do so little with the Achilles heel of the team last year?"

Well, I don't agree they've done so little. They have a new right tackle (Gilbert) and a new guard (Sweezy). They could potentially have a "new" center if A.Q. Shipley comes back into the lineup. They will likely have completely new reserves. Did they spend a high draft pick? Obviously not. But it's not as if the offensive line was untouched.

Peterson is not being traded before the season. (Or during the season, for that matter.)

From John Pashkow via

"Why do you remain so high on David Johnson? He reminds me of a number of players who have one good year and then the bottom drops out. Last year I never saw him break a tackle, which he did many times during his good year."

David broke some tackles last year. Did he play as well as he did in 2016? No. But the team around him was not good last year. I remain high on David Johnson because I still believe, put in the right position and with improved line play, there is no reason to think he can't be that running back. And by the way, he had two good years. He was fantastic as a rookie in 2015. He didn't get as many opportunities, but he was that guy.

From Kenyon Carlson via

"I've done a little bit of research into offensive schemes. What I've uncovered is that there are basically 3 different offensive systems employed in modern football. These systems are the Erhardt-Perkins offense (under the Patriots...and it's still unclear to me how that's executed), the West-Coast offense (Bill Walsh), and the Air Coryell offense (executed by the Chargers from 1978-1988). But my question to you is, do you think Kliff Kingsbury's offense is going to be the fourth type of offensive scheme? Is it significantly different than the Air Coryell offense? I've heard it called a 'Pro-Raid' or 'New Age' type of offense and was just wondering if it was unique."

Well, since we haven't seen it yet, there is no clear answer. I don't expect him to be reinventing the wheel here. If you use four or five wide receivers, that just seems to be a version of a spread offense. The Chiefs and Rams are explosive offensively, but I don't think Andy Reid or Sean McVay are doing anything otherworldly; they are just ahead of the curve in terms of putting players in the right spots. That's what Kingsbury is trying to do.

As I mentioned earlier with the money, it's about sunk cost. No one likes sunk cost in their lives, but you can significantly impede progress in anything -- whether it is a football team or a business or your personal life -- if you are always wary of change because you don't want to accept sunk cost. Again, to me, once you decide Murray could be great, and that's where the Cardinals stand on his evaluation, you take him and move on.

From Juan Zaz via

"With 11 draft picks, 12 UDFA's and the No. 1 waiver wire claim, can we expect as much turnover as we've ever seen in the Keim era?"

There was a lot of turnover last year too. That's going to happen when you change coaches. But mostly, you're going to have a lot of turnover when a team goes 3-13. So yes, the 53-man roster is going to look a lot different. It needed to look different.

From Cris Peralta via

"My son was asking the other day how I got Michael Jordan's autograph. I told him that as a kid I would send fan mail to different professional sport organizations in an attempt to get a players autograph, I received quite a bit back signed; MJ, Earnhardt Sr., Grandmama (Larry Johnson) to name a few. Is this something that is still possible to do?"

Yes, you can still send mail to the Dignity Health Arizona Cardinals Training Center in Tempe. Players get mail here all the time. Whether they will answer is another question, but letters will be delivered to them.

I'll send along your screenshot.